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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 91-98

An overview of neonatal conjuctivitis

Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mohammed Abdulsalam
Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano
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DOI: 10.4103/1858-5000.167868

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Neonatal conjunctivitis has been recognized for several centuries and it is one of the most common infections occurring in the 1 st month of life and remains an important cause of ocular morbidity of great health concern especially in developing countries. This article attempts to review the current epidemiology, etiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, investigations, and treatment and offer possible preventive measures to avert this potentially crippling disease. Most epidemiological reports have focused on gonococcal and chlamydial neonatal conjunctivitis because both are associated with sexually transmitted diseases and are therefore of general public health importance. The risk of conjunctivitis in newborns depends on frequencies of maternal infections, prophylactic measures, circumstances during labor and delivery, and postdelivery exposures to microorganisms. The etiological agents implicated as causes of Neonatal conjunctivitis can be classified into chemical and infective. Laboratory studies used in the diagnosis of neonatal conjunctivitis include smears, stains, cultures, and serological tests. Current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for the management of sexually transmitted infections recommend that all cases of neonatal conjunctivitis be treated for both Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Four levels of intervention can be used to prevent childhood blindness and ocular morbidity from neonatal conjunctivitis. These strategies may reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease, which in turn may reduce the risk to infants of exposure to agents that cause neonatal conjunctivitis.

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